Defended

H.D. Craig defends season title at Hayden Speedway

H.D. Craig had one of the ugliest races of his career Saturday night at the Hayden Speedway, but pretty doesn't win trophies -- except in a beauty pageant.

H.D., who drives in the modifieds division, had a rough night on the track but was able to place high enough to retain his first-place finish in the points standing, thereby defending his title as track champion.

"The track beat me up tonight," H.D. said.

With a slick track and some rough patches, his No. 3 car took a beating.

"The car wasn't handling well," he said. "It just couldn't take the track."

The main event for the modifieds division started with some acrobatics as Brian Powers rolled his No. 8 car on his first lap. Powers came out of the accident unscathed, but his car lost a few parts -- namely the roof and the right side.

"Basically I saw dirt," Powers said. "I came into the corner and right when I got back on the gas I felt someone hit me."

Powers was able to continue, but other drivers in the modifieds were not as lucky.

Matt Beckett, driver of the No. 14 car, thought he caught a break during the caution for Powers' accident. He had some car trouble and zipped off the track to fix it up, returning before the green flag was dropped.

Two laps later, he was being towed off the track.

"The car was going good," Beckett said. "I just got bumped, and the steering was done. Hopefully next year will go better."

Beckett, who received no points for the main event, was tied for fourth place with Powers in the points standings. They're not tied anymore.

"I finished the race because I was tied with Matt," Powers said. "So I guess finishing worked out for me. If you're going to race it like you stole it, you might as well go all out."

Powers' wife, Michelle, who drives in the street stock division, took home her first season championship Saturday but admitted she was more than a little nervous when she saw her husband roll.

"It was really scary," Michelle said.

Once racing resumed, three more cautions and one black flag emerged.

Troy McElroy, in the No. 57 car, snuck up and took away the checkered flag from rookie driver Chance Harms and his No. 45 car. H.D. finished in sixth, while his brother Nick Craig finished in fourth. Nick also took the No. 2 spot in the season standings.

"It was my goal to have us finish No. 1 and No. 2," H.D. said after the race.

H.D. also said that he knew where he needed to finish to retain the No. 1 ranking and once he knew he was OK, he helped his brother by playing a blocker for his No. 23 car.

"I just tried to help him out some," H.D. said.

In the sport stock main event, Ed Hatch took the trophy, and Steve Wilson finished second.

The super street stock division was no surprise as Samantha Johnston took home the seasonal championship and the main-event checkered flag. During the race however, a number of misfortunes for the Wisecup family left the race to Johnston and Phil Goodwin, who was driving the No. 1 car.

As a special event for the final races of the season, the Dwarf car division raced. The miniature cars -- which are reminiscent of clown cars -- whipped around the quarter-mile track barely gripping the surface.

Monte Morris in the No. 43 car took first, and Shane MacArthur in No. 9 and Toby Gilroy in No. 18 took second and third, respectively.

Dayna Goodwin, a member of the speedway's board of directors, had mixed feelings about the season. She said that because of all the changes, things didn't go quite as smoothly as organizers had hoped, but she thinks the Hayden Speedway is on its way to being a premiere dirt-track racing venue.

"We're going in the right direction," Goodwin said.

Melanie McDaniels can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or mmcdaniels@craigdailypress.com.

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